Aurizon has successfully completed the sale of its Queensland intermodal business to international logistics company Linfox, ensuring the transition for customers and regional communities as well as job security for more than 300 Queensland employees. The sale completed on 31 January and follows the ACCC’s concerns and following approval of the sale. The Queensland intermodal business delivers for more than 300 customers across regional Queensland, including supermarket groceries, white goods for retailers, and beer and wine for country hotels and liquor stores. The company says the sale provides certainty for Aurizon customers and local communities in regional Queensland, ensuring the supply of goods continues with Linfox as the new business owner. It has also secured continued employment for more than 300 people across Queensland, mostly in regional centres. These employees, including train drivers and freight terminal operators, have ensured services continued for customers throughout the transition.
The ACCC has acknowledged Aurizon’s sale of its Queensland intermodal business to Linfox. The ACCC has considered the Linfox proposal, and has decided that a public review of the transaction is not required, as it does not consider the acquisition by Linfox will give rise to a substantial lessening of competition. “Linfox’s operations in Queensland are relatively limited, and the transaction will mean there will remain two intermodal rail line-haul providers in Queensland, which is a good outcome for rail competition and Queenslanders,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said. Aurizon had previously announced that it would shut the Queensland intermodal business if it couldn’t progress the earlier transaction proposal involving Pacific National. Under the earlier transaction proposal, it planned to sell the rail component of the Queensland intermodal rail business to Pacific National, its only competitor in intermodal rail in Queensland. “The ACCC did not consider that Aurizon’s shut-down plans were rational given there were other options,” Mr Sims said. “The sale of the Queensland intermodal business demonstrates why the ACCC must always question claims that businesses will be shut if we don’t approve a merger.” The ACCC litigation concerning the sale of Acacia Ridge Rail Terminal to Pacific National and Aurizon’s intermodal sale process is continuing.
Transport workers are up to five times more likely to be injured at work than any other Australian worker, according to new Monash research, with rail drivers in particular 30 times more likely to develop a mental health condition than any other worker. These are just two of many significant findings unearthed in the first report of the National Transport Industry Health and Wellbeing Study, released today by the Insurance Work and Health Group at Monash University. The research, supported by Linfox Logistics and the Transport Workers Union, comes from the first stage of a detailed national study looking into the health of workers in the transport industry. The Australian transport and logistic industry is very diverse, and encompasses drivers, logistics, storage and warehousing workers, managers and executives. Alex Collie, professor and director of the Insurance Work and Health Group, said transport workers were subject to a unique set of health risks in their working environment, including sedentary jobs, long working hours and shift work, isolation, fatigue and sleep deprivation, among others. “This study presents a national picture of the health of people working in the transport and logistics industry. Prior studies have focused on safety and on specific groups of workers. We used a large and detailed national database of work injury claims to examine a range of different injuries and diseases that affect workers across the whole industry,” Professor Collie said. “Our ultimate aim is to develop programs and services that can prevent illness and injury in the transport sector, and help people recover and return to work when they become sick.” There are strong links between people’s health and their ability to work, Professor Collie said, so understanding and improving the health of an industry which employs 1.2 million people is important for the workers, their employers and the Australian economy. The Transport Workers Union national assistant secretary Michael Kaine said the report’s findings show that the “pressures on transport workers, including long hours away from family, chronic fatigue and the stresses of meeting deadlines, are clearly taking their toll”. “It should serve as yet another example of the need for a check on the transport supply chain, to ensure that the major clients at the top are being held to account for the pressure they exert on the industry and its workforce,” he said. Linfox Logistics general manager of HR Lauren Pemberton said working with Monash and TWU to investigate driver health and safety was the “next logical step in improving our staff health programs”.
Mark Mazurek, the recently appointed CEO of Linfox Logistics, has told Logistics & Materials Handling how the supply chain company intends to set an example for safe practice in Australia. “In 2017, there were 168 fatal crashes in Australia involving heavy vehicles,” he said. “This is unacceptable and it tells us that safety requires relentless commitment. “You can’t put an unsafe driver in a safe truck and expect it to be safe.” He noted that Linfox implemented its own in-house strategy – Vision Zero – after realising that it would need a culture of safety in order to keep its people and the public safe. “We invest in technology to enhance that, but it starts with culture first,” he added. “We’ve reduced our LTIFR (Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate) by 90 per cent since 2006 so we’re getting something right, but we can never be complacent. “Industry, government and road users have a role to play in creating a culture of safety on our roads.” Mazurek added that it is crucial the Federal Government uses its influence in the best way. “The Government role is about creating consistency for the industry,” he said. “On a policy level, it is critical to align national heavy vehicle legislation across Australia to make operations simpler, more efficient and safer. This includes heavy vehicle maintenance standards, driver medical standards and heavy vehicle licencing. “We’d also like to see greater restrictions on older vehicles and trailing equipment. We commend the work of the Australian Logistics Council and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator in building momentum on this issue.” Linfox would also like to see the Government advancing policy in mandatory telematics to assist with the management of speed, fatigue, mass and maintenance, and the development of an environment conducive to innovation, enabling technology to be trialled and implemented quickly, Mazurek shared.
Australian logistics company, Linfox, will implement an advanced telematics and management solution into its truck fleet, through a partnership with Australian telecommunications business, Telstra, and GPS and fleet management solutions provider, MTData. The Internet of Things (IoT) technology will be rolled out to the whole Linfox truck fleet and will reportedly deliver advanced transport and logistics data and quality-benchmarking information to enhance public and driver safety on Australian roads. “We are in a critical time in the logistics industry and it’s important to deliver technology that will ensure greater safety for our drivers and the communities in which we operate,” said Conrad Harvey, Chief Information Officer, Linfox. “Safety is a key issue within our industry and community and by partnering with Telstra to implement transformative technologies that allow us to better monitor and measure safety compliance throughout our fleet, we can work to reduce risk factors and enhance safe driver behaviour.” Telstra’s IoT solution will include Samsung tablets mounted into Linfox trucks so drivers can access logbooks and complete safety checklists, and have capability, in some vehicles, for in-cabin recording of road-safety incidents. “The technology will require our drivers to log on and complete safety checklists before they head off on the road and will allow us to gain more accurate in-cab readings of speed and distance,” said Harvey. “The devices will enable us to coordinate our vehicles efficiently, reduce congestion on the roads and above all, ensure a higher level of safety for the community.” The deal comes three months after Telstra’s acquisition of MTData. “Linfox is one of Australia’s largest and most successful logistics companies and we are committed to supporting its efforts to achieve safer and more efficient supply chains,” said Michelle Bendschneider, Executive Director – Global Products, Telstra. “With MTData’s expertise in delivering IoT solutions for the heavy vehicle industry, coupled with the unrivalled capability of the Telstra mobile network, we have created an innovative solution to help transform Linfox’s business.”
Peter Fox, Chairman of Australian logistics company Linfox, has shared his thoughts on the viability of electric trucks in Australia in an interview with TheAustralian Financial Review. Fox noted that while he is keen on electric trucks, the company will wait until highways are equipped with charging stations before upgrading its fuel-powered fleet. “We can’t update 7,000 vehicles in one day and make them more electric,” he said. “And if I did, I wouldn’t have charging stations – it’s a great concept, but it’s going to have a slow uptake.” Fox told the newspaper that electric vehicles have “a part to play in the future,” and that Linfox is conducting its own tests of electric trucks. “Given we’re a leader in our industry, where there’s innovation, we will be the first mover,” he said – adding that the logistic company expects to see electric small trucks and vans in operation in the next couple of years. Fox also shared his belief that the Government should not offer subsidies on electric vehicles to incentivise people to use them, though acknowledged that there was logic in charging older trucks more to use roads, since they produce higher amounts of carbon emissions.
Peter Fox, Executive Chairman of Australian logistics giant Linfox, has applauded e-commerce company Amazon’s Australian entry strategy, branding its partnering with local logistics operators “really smart,” The Australian reports. “I think [Amazon] have been really smart in terms of who they align with and who they compete with,” Fox told the newspaper. He noted that Linfox has felt the arrival of Amazon, though it does not provide couriers services. “Our volumes have picked up on the back of volume we do for Australia Post, because we are the intermodal provider at Australia Post,” he said, adding that he believes Amazon’s decision to set up a local presence was a good one. “Amazon have now got a much shorter supply chain to get deliveries,” he said. “Instead of being couriers in by an aircraft from America, they now have inventory in Australia and the consumer us getting delivery within 24 hours – before that, delivery would have taken three or four days.” Fox also commented on Linfox’s recent senior appointments – the company announced earlier this week that Annette Carey would leave her position as Linfox Logistics CEO ANZ and take a place on the Board, as a non-executive director, succeeded by an internal hire, Mark Marurek. “The best people inside our company are ones which we bring up from the rank and file and come up through management,” he said. “We just believe in training and educating our people. “Unfortunately, some people leave and we end up training and educating the industry, but where we can hold on to the people and promote from within, that’s our favourite alternative in succession.”
Third-party logistics company Linfox has announced two major updates to its senior leadership team. After over three years in the role of CEO, during which time the company exceeded its financial, new business and safety targets, Annette Carey has now joined the Linfox Logistics ANZ Board as a non-executive director. “Annette joins the Board as Linfox continues its growth following recent acquisitions,” said Peter Fox, Executive Chairman, Linfox. “Her appointment reflects the value Annette brings to Linfox and the respect in which Annette is held by both Linfox and the industry. “I thank her for her time as CEO and welcome her as a non-executive director to the Board.” Mark Mazurek will take over Carey’s responsibilities as CEO of Linfox’s ANZ business on 1 February. Mazurek joined the company in 2006 and has held senior leadership positions across Linfox, including in the Intermodal and the Resources and Industrial business units. “Mark has been central to the acquisition of Aurizon assets in Northern Queensland and the development of strategic facilities such as our new Darwin railhead,” added Fox. “Mark brings exceptional acumen along with new thinking and energy.” Fox noted that the leadership changes reflect the company’s “continued renewal” to meet the needs of its customers. “Our industry is evolving and we are well positioned for future growth,” he said. “In the past 12 months, Linfox has renewed its leadership team, and we will continue to do this as the industry develops to ensure that we meet the needs of our customers.”
According to transport and logistics company Linfox, autonomous vehicles need to be considered in order for Australian companies to meet future demand safely. In the Linfox Solutions publication, Oliver Needham, Group Manager – Innovation and Operations Development, Linfox, said that autonomous vehicles address a range of key transport issues including safety, efficiency, lower costs and emissions. “Ninety per cent of all road traffic accidents are caused by driver error,” said Needham. “In theory, self-driving vehicles equipped with advanced sensors, spatial imaging software and avoidance algorithms can constantly monitor and adapt to traffic and weather conditions and avoid obstacles more effectively than a human.” According to Needham, autonomous vehicles can also compensate for driver’s lack of attention, improve mileage through better aerodynamics and could help attract younger drivers. “Linfox already has a level of automation in its fleet,” Needham said. “While exact configurations depend on customer requirements, Linfox’s newer trucks include lane departure warning systems and autonomous emergency braking systems. “Fully autonomous vehicles are expected to be on our roads in the next decade, but much work is to be done for policy and perceptions to catch up with the technological capability.”
Linfox has launched a test case to clarify the term ‘public road’ in the Fuel Tax Act 2006 to ensure that heavy vehicles are claiming the correct number of fuel tax credits on fuel used for business activity. The test case is limited to a challenge on a very narrow area of the legislation, section 43-10(3) of the Fuel Tax Act 2006, which states: “To the extent you acquire… fuel to use, in a vehicle, for travelling on a public road, the amount of your fuel tax credit is reduced by the amount of the road user charge for the fuel.” The term ‘public road’ is not defined in The Act and is critical to the application of the road user charge that is used to fund government repairs to public highways. Currently, a truck travelling on a toll road pays the road user charge for this journey, even though toll road repairs are not funded by the government. The Commissioner of Taxation takes the view that a toll road is a public road for the purposes of applying the road user charge. Linfox estimates that 10% of its journeys use a toll road. Consulting with the Commissioner of Taxation on this issue, the parties agreed that a court judgement would be the best way to clarify this issue. To illustrate its case, Linfox is contending that the M2 toll road in New South Wales does not meet the description ‘public road’ and therefore the company has been incorrectly reducing the amount of fuel tax credits it has been entitled to through applying the road user charge. If successful, Linfox will be entitled to seek a refund of any fuel tax credits that have been under-claimed. The decision would also mean that any other taxpayers using fuel on any roads that do not meet the term ‘public road’ would also be eligible for refunds. This is a case no doubt all truck operators will be watching closely.